When have you really felt God speaking to you through a sermon?
What were the main points of the last 5 sermons you heard?
Raise your hand if you could remember at least one of the last five sermon topics? Keep your hand up if you could remember two? Three? Four? Five?
But I expect that almost all of us could point to at least one sermon that was a powerful spiritual event for us. Somehow, sometimes, sermons become miracles. Reading the Bible and talking about it becomes a transcendent event when the words on the page become the Word of God for us in our hearts.
This is our topic today - the role of scripture and preaching in the worship service. You can read the Bible at home. You can listen to sermon podcasts or read them online, but something special happens when we gather to hear from God together. What is that? How does that work? How can we have more of those special, supernatural, God-filled moments when we gather on Sundays?
Our primary text for today is in 2 Timothy. Timothy is Paul’s ministry student. Paul has been training Timothy for years. In our series on 1 Thessalonians, we saw part of this training period with Timothy serving as Paul’s assistant. Timothy is out on his own now, in Ephesus. Timothy is the Christian leader of the island, kind of like a bishop or lead pastor for a network of house churches. Paul is giving his final advice to Timothy, charging him with his most important tasks as a minister. Again and again, Paul comes back to one fundamental task: “Preach the Word of God.” Let’s read part of Paul’s advice starting in 3:14.
Chapter 3: 14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. ...
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(If necessary, scroll to Friday Sept. 16, 2011.)